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Reasons to celebrate

Jessica Mazur and Kyle Decker’s wedding is a testament to the healing power of love. The high-school sweethearts, who met at Iroquois High School and started dating in 2008, got engaged in 2015 — shortly after Jessica’s father passed away suddenly.

“The proposal definitely turned things around for me and my family,” Jessica said. “I was excited to marry the love of my life and we were all super excited to start planning a wedding.”

Though her father wasn’t able to be with her throughout the process, there were moments where she felt his presence — like when Jessica and her mother went shopping for her wedding dress at M.A. Carr in Orchard Park.

“Believe it or not, the second time I went dress shopping and said yes to the dress, it was June 4, which is my dad’s birthday,” she said. “So it definitely felt like it was meant to be.”

Kyle proposed to Jessica — on his birthday — at Airlie Gardens, a scenic public park with walking trails and lush, beautiful gardens, during a weekend getaway to Wilmington Beach. It was there, in the midst of the picturesque blooms, that Kyle surprised Jessica by getting down on one knee and asking her to be his wife.

In the months leading up to wedding, Jessica felt anxious about not having her father there to walk her down the aisle or dance with her at the reception. So she asked another man she dearly loved to stand in for him.

“At our engagement party, I asked my grandfather, Papa, to walk me down the aisle and, of course, he said yes,” she said.

Jessica and Kyle married on August 5, 2017 in the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in East Aurora — Jessica in a strapless dress that her seamstress modified to give it a mermaid-style flare, Kyle in all gray. Her six bridesmaids donned long, strapless taupe chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of white and pink roses, with the groomsmen in gray tuxes with champagne vests.

“During the ceremony, when Pastor Rebecca Nabor talked about Kyle and I personally, she mentioned some of the hardships we had faced — our long distance relationship and the loss of my father. Her words really touched my heart,” Jessica said. “Even though it was tough not having him there on my special day, it was still the best day of my life.”

After the ceremony, Jessica and Kyle snuck away for a special photo session with their beloved dog — a French bulldog named Koda, sharply dressed in his own bow tie — at their family’s home in Elma. From there, the couple joined the crowd at their reception at Statler City, which was adorned with tall candles, gold centerpieces with greens draping to the floor, farm-style tables with linens and gold charger plates. Their first dance as husband and wife was to a jazz version of a favorite song, “Latch.”

“I felt like a lot of people wanted me to do things differently, but I had this vision in my head and it came out really well,” Jessica said. “The day is truly about the bride and groom. Friends and family will try to plan your wedding for you, but plan everything the way you want to — you know best!”

Jessica also shared a special piece of advice for brides-to-be who may have lost their father: that they are not alone.

“There are many girls out there who have had to walk down the aisle without him and miss out on that father-daughter dance,” she said. “And as hard as it may be, just try and enjoy your special day as much as you can because, with or without him here in your life, you are still marrying your best friend and that is truly special.”

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